In six days (144 hours), the Kansas Legislature will begin its 2020 legislative session. The session is scheduled to run 90 days, sans a major revenue issue, and a session planner has already been released. The planner sets major deadlines that legislators to use to track their progress. The session planner deadlines (subject to change) for 2020 are:
Monday, Jan. 13….Session Begins
Wednesday, Jan. 15….State-of-the-State Address to the Legislature by the Governor
Thursday, Feb. 27….House of Origin Deadline
Wednesday, March 25….Second House Deadline
Friday, April 3….First Adjournment
Monday, April 27….Veto Session Begins
Wednesday, May 20….90th Calendar Day
Quick note—these deadlines are significant, but there are procedures that can extend the deadline for individual bills. This process is called “blessing” a bill by exempting it from certain deadlines by referring the bill through “exempt” committees (including Senate Ways and Means, House Appropriations, and Federal and State Affairs Committees in both chambers).
It is also important to remember that 2020 is a carry-over year for bills not passed in 2019; there are nearly 700 bills that will carry-over from 2019. Which of these bills receive legislative attention remains to be seen, but rest assured something that was dormant in 2019 will be revisited in 2020.
There will be new challenges in 2020, but for the first time in a decade, one of those challenges won’t be school finance. The 2019 Legislature was able to patch together a constitutionally adequate formula by adding $390 million more dollars for schools.
The State also appears to be in a much better place financially than previously thought. The State is expected to receive an additional $525 million based on projections. This should pay for the school finance bill this year with some left over. How those funds are appropriated is an issue for 2020 legislators.
Besides the budget, legislators will wrestle with several big items, including: They include:
Abortion Constitutional Amendment
Judicial Selection Amendment
Non-economic Damages Cap
Banks vs. Credit Unions
Criminal Justice Reform
For its part, the KBA will be gearing up to work on several technical proposals in 2020. The KBA will lobby for legislative approval for the Uniform Family Arbitration Act. This proposal has been in the works for nearly a year. The KBA will also be involved in Power of Attorney legislation, judicial selection proposals, shared parenting issues and electronic notary updates. As always, the KBA will monitor bills of interest to the profession and track them on our 2020 Bill Tracking Chart found at www.ksbar.org.
For information on legislators, bills and committee assignments you can also go to: www.kslegisalture.org. To receive live updates during the session, follow us on twitter @KansasBarLeg. Look for our Big Item of the Day and Pic of the Day starting Jan 13th.